This page, In Memoriam of Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, is offered by

In Memoriam of Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants

Share your message of condolence or memory of the Chief Justice so that we may all come together virtually to mourn our loss, share our stories, and pay tribute to Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants.

Table of Contents

Statement of the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court

Thursday, September 17, 2020

In ordinary times the members of the court system and the legal community would be able to come together and extend condolences to Chief Justice Gants’ family and friends, grieve his loss, and share with each other the many wonderful memories we all have of a great man. Chief Justice Gants inspired us all to be better people by his genuine expression of the best of humanity. In these times, however, we are not able to be together to mourn his loss and celebrate his life. That day will come. 

We have found solace by talking with each other and sharing the many wonderful messages we have received from the members of the court system and the legal community. We invite you to share your message of condolence or memory of the Chief on the Memorial Page so that we may all virtually come together to mourn our loss, share our stories, and pay tribute to Chief Justice Ralph Gants.

Statement of Appeals Court Chief Justice Mark V. Green

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Chief Justice Ralph Gants and I were close personal friends of long standing for many years before we each were first appointed as trial judges. In 1997, Ralph was part of a small group I assembled to help me prepare for what I anticipated to be a challenging confirmation hearing before the Governor's Council, for my nomination to the Land Court. I vividly remember Ralph putting me at ease by saying, "let me put this into some context: you are where I hope to be." Within a few months, Ralph indeed was in the same position, and was confirmed (more easily I might add) to the Superior Court. When I moved from the Land Court to the Appeals Court, Ralph was the only trial judge on my recusal list. We celebrated when Ralph was elevated to the SJC in 2008, and again when he was named Chief Justice in 2014 (and, crossing off an item from his "bucket list," threw out the first pitch at Fenway following his swearing-in ceremony).

In 2017, as I contemplated the prospect of serving as Chief Justice of the Appeals Court, one of the things that excited me was the opportunity to collaborate with my very close friend in our respective roles as chiefs of the two state appellate courts. It was a unique privilege and a pleasure to be able to carry the foundation of our friendship into that working relationship, and as we settled into our patterns of working together the experience fulfilled the dreams I had imagined for it. He was a great and visionary leader, a great partner, and a wonderful friend. It is just so painful to face the need to go forward without him, and in the shadow of his legacy. But I am committed to honoring his legacy by doing everything I can to carry out his vision for greater access to justice and greater equality in our delivery of it.

Statement of Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey and Court Administrator Jonathan S. Williams

Thursday, September 17, 2020

We had the wonderful opportunity to work closely with Chief Justice Gants, so know firsthand his genuine passion for justice and deep concern for all court staff and court users. He embodied the highest ideals in his oversight of court operations and our best tribute to him will be to carry on the groundbreaking efforts he championed to help those who need it most. He was a giant and a man of courage and conviction, yet with the largest heart we know. Thank you for sharing condolences and personal reflections that will help us all manage our grief on his sudden loss. 

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